Lord (Eric) Avebury writes…Pakistan’s Army stands firm against the Taliban

The Pakistan Army’s Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) has condemned Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Chief Syed Munawar Hassan’s statement in which he called former Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Chief Hakimullah Mehsud a martyr.

In fact, Mehsud was a mass murderer, motivated by implacable religious hatred, and his killing by a US drone on November 1 was fully deserved. Under his leadership the TTP slaughtered Pakistani soldiers and civilians, men women and children indiscriminately. He targeted Shia Muslims, of whom 700 have been killed so far this year.

The objective of the TTP is to overthrow the state of Pakistan and to replace it with a fundamentalist regime based on the practices of the rulers the who succeeded the Prophet in the 7th century AD. This would include their own interpretation of sharia law, with the abolition of all secular laws. Those who don’t agree with the TTP – Shia, Christians, Ahmadis, Sufis, Barelvi – would all be eliminated. Women would be turned into slaves, as they were in Aghanistan under Taliban rule.

The Army’s statement has given clear leadership as to where Pakistan stands on the question of religious terrorism, unlike the politicians who think you can negotiate with mindless fanatics. The TTP is not like the IRA, which had limited political objectives and was open to compromise. The TTP has hellish revolutionary aims which no sane Pakistani would endorse, and every sane Pakistani should support the Army.

* Eric Lubbock, Lord Avebury, is a working peer, and Vice-Chair, Parliamentary Human Rights Group. He blogs here.

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  • Richard Dean 14th Nov '13 - 11:00am

    I’m afraid I agree fully with this rather bloodthirsty post. Anyone who thinks the Pakistan Taliban are really nice people, just misunderstood, should read Malala Yousafzai’s incredible, heroic story, or look at videos of the Taliban’s occupation of the Swat valley, with public beheadings, extreme violence against women, and absolutely no civil rights granted to anyone but the Taliban themselves. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0316322407/?tag=libdemvoice-21

    Unfortunately there other realities involved. One is that the Taliban is quite useful to Pakistan in the sense that they encourage US aid to that country. Perhaps that is why the army were not so successful last time. Another is the long term issue about what it is in the extreme side of Islamic culture that results in some people being as barbaric as this. It’s comparable to the barbarism in Christendom 600 years ago. I suspect the solution lies in exactly what Malala is fighting for – education, freedoms, economic and cultural development, and human rights.

  • Richard Dean 14th Nov '13 - 2:05pm

    I’d also suggest that it is better to assist an Pakistani-army led effort, rather than violate Pakistani sovereignty. That’s the right way. Though obviously an army is a blunt instrument, and that way would become problematic if the Pakistani army does wrong. The effort against the Taliban should not itself inadvertently make more people join their side.

  • Sadiq Noyan 14th Nov '13 - 4:33pm

    Yes, this time Pakistani army is stood up against the statement of JI chief, Maunawer Hassan but the army agencies are the one who support these extremists groups in Pakistan through back channels. Colonel Imam was one of the most respected ISI army agency’s training officer who for the whole of his life given these Talibans training. Just take the example of Lashkar e jhungavi, Jaish Islam of Taliban’s fractions, who are openly taking the responsibilities s of the killings of hundreds of Hazaras in Quetta city of Pakistan and yet these agencies around (21) who are the backbone of Pakistani government are well aware of the whole activities of these extremists, but do nothing! These agencies play double game, In Quetta in a broad day light unarmed civilians are targeted daily bases yet no one has ever been brought to justice, even though these extremists groups accept the responsibilities of the killings of the Hazara civilians.
    Take the example of the Hafiz Saeed Ahmad who is known for his creation of the extremists group called Lashkar e taiba played an important role for Bombay attack. The Pakistani agencies are supporting and luring these extremists for their strategic bargaining chip on their foreign policies. In the war on terror Pakistani army is getting US adds as if milking US.

  • “eliminated”, “slaves”, “mindless fanatics”: a good vs evil charicature. If they didn’t speak to the cultural values of the population from which they are drawn they wouldn’t have any support. Those aren’t western values. But dismissing them as mindless fanaticism is not very sophisticated cartoon-type thinking. The kind that doesn’t help political compromise and agreements and settlements.

  • Richard Dean 14th Nov '13 - 8:57pm

    Picking up from Jeremy’s comment, one thing that struck me from Malala’s book is that the Taliban seemed to grow as a group in the Swat valley without, for a long while, anyone doing anything about them. Maybe that’s the famous Pashtun culture? Early police action, well before things like beheadings started, would be expected if things had started to develop like that in the UK. So there are certainly cultural puzzles there.

  • Richard Dean

    You don’t mention the barbarism of drone and plane strikes. Wedding parties being blown to bits. People being waterboarded and kicked to death at Bagram. The Dasht-i-Leili massacre. The invasion of Afghanistan because of American bloodlust when not a single Afghan was involved and the Taliban foreign minister had tried to warn the Americans of the attack. The rather worse nature of some of the people the Taliban were fighting in Afghanistan.

    Or that its the US involvement in Afghanistan that has destabilised Pakistan – former supporters of the Taliban. Now foes. It really hasn’t worked out. And the they’re-just-evil-and-terrorists perspective never will.

  • Richard Dean 14th Nov '13 - 9:57pm

    Jeremy. Are you saying that two wrongs make a right?

  • Richard Dean

    What I’m saying is there’s a lot of brutality here. And instead of the white hat/black hat thinking and the one-sided media demonising, try more objectivity. Then start to recognise the Western interference over decades that helped to create this brutality. That might be a step toward ending it. The UK has no business being there. Nor do the Americans. They’re evil… bomb, bomb… is not very intelligent.

    The Taliban aren’t cyphers, or lunatics, They’re human beings. They have beliefs and values, and a history part of which I’ve detailed above. They’re “mindless” doesn’t understand them. They’re not.

  • Richard Dean 15th Nov '13 - 7:48am

    Actions speak loud. Taliban actions mainly target the Pakistani population. Their motives have little if anything to do with any previous US misdeeds.

    Most – yes, most – of what we are told of Taliban actions against their own people concerns stuff about adultery. If this is what they really focus on then their basic problem is sex! Freud rules, not the US and not any western aggressor. Which is perhaps not unexpected given some of the reported attitudes about women and restrictions on them.

    It’s possible of course that the madness is in the wesyten media rather than the frustrated young men of the Taliban. Or perhaps it is everywhere. Freud would perhaps agree that, once a person who is driven mad by sex translates that madness into actual abuse and killing, then things have become more or less irreversible, and physical restraint is more or less the only way to prevent the spread of further abuse and killing.

    On that exploratory basis, I’d suggest that the Pakistani army is the right force to use on the restraint side, and that it needs to be managed intelligently so as not to increase support for the sex-maddened Taliban, and supported with cultural and economic initiatives which address the long term, underlying problem.

  • A Social Liberal 15th Nov '13 - 9:51pm

    I do not agree with what this article is setting out. It is not alright to kill anyone out of hand on the premise that they have carried out acts of terrorism in the past. If a person was in the process of carrying out an atrocity and it was necessary to kill them in order to stop that atrocity then it would be acceptable. If Hakimullah Mehsud had been killed whilst resisting arrest in a way that placed those arresting him in danger of their lives then, fine. but to sentence someone without there having been a trial is deeply wrong.

    Jeremy said

    ” The invasion of Afghanistan because of American bloodlust when not a single Afghan was involved”. What a load of tripe. Afghans were involved, maybe not in the actual execution of the mass murder of Americans, but certainly in the harbouring and supply of those who planned the act. They gave succour to Al Qiada and protected them against retribution for the mass murder of citizens around the world. the Taliban were asked to give Al Qiada up and they refused

  • A Social Liberal:

    9/11 was carried out by mainly Saudi Arabians who trained in the US. Their supplies? They used box cutters… I don’t imagine they got those in Afghanistan. The Taliban offered to give Bin Ladin ( who I presume you mean when you say “Al Qiada”) up for trial to a third country, The Americans refused. They had no evidence against Bin Ladin at the time. Instead of adhering to the rules ot international law, regarding extradition etc they bombed the country killing thousands of people – probably not a single one of whom had anything to do with 9/11. It may have satisfied their post 9/11 bloodlust but it wasn’t justice.

  • Richard Dean 17th Nov '13 - 9:31am

    Here is a flavour of the ignorance and brutality of these people …


    They are only now learning that their system of summary judgement is imperfect. How long will it take, I wonder, for them to catch up? What else, I wonder, will they have to learn about themselves along the way?

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